Fishing fleets dump about 10 percent of the fish they catch back into the ocean in an “enormous waste” of low-value fish despite some progress in limiting discards in recent years, scientists said on Monday.
Almost 10 million tonnes of about 100 million tonnes of fish caught annually in the past decade were thrown back into the sea, according to the “Sea Around Us” review by the University of British Columbia and the University of Western Australia.
Industrial fleets often throw back fish that are damaged, diseased, too small or of an unwanted species. A trawler with a quota only to catch North Atlantic cod, for instance, may throw back hake caught in the same net.
Discards are an “enormous waste … especially at a time when wild capture fisheries are under global strain amidst growing demands for food security and human nutritional health,” they wrote in the journal Fish & Fisheries.